Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Title: Street Soldier
Author: Andy McNab
Publisher: Penguin, Random House UK Children’s
Published: August 11th, 2016
This is the story of the misadventures of a teen gang member, Sean Harker, who finds that being caught doing the crime really does mean paying back the time. Aged fifteen, he saves two of his mates when spotted trying to steal cars but ends up being caught himself. Convicted, he is sent to a young offenders institute where he reconnects with a couple of other members of the same gang from where he grew up. He discovers that sometimes it is who you know that impacts on how you are treated – but be very wary when they aren’t there! When offered the opportunity to undergo army training, although initially reluctant to do so, after a traumatic experience, Sean decides to give it a go. The story chronicles what happens to Sean, life in the military, gangs, being targeted, temptations and a shocking new role for him.
I found this a thoroughly engaging and inspirational read. The author’s message at the end of the novel tells that some of the experiences of being a gang member, going to a young offenders institution and then being encouraged to join the army are ones he has gone through to turn his life around. I think that shows in how the characters are written,this is a story but the key elements are factors that the author truly understands and relates to as they were part of his personal teen years. I found reading the glossary of terms at the beginning very useful in helping me understand some of the military terms used – I also had fun seeing which of them my husband knew!
This is a hard hitting novel, the kind you hope troubled teens might read and be inspired to change their lives but at the same time can be enjoyed by adults, too. “Every time you get a bit of knowledge, you get a bit of power to take control of your life. Just try it.”
Sean Harker is good at two things: stealing cars and fighting. One earns him money, the other earns him respect from the gang that he calls family.
A police chase through the city streets is just another rite of passage for Sean . . . as is getting nicked. But a brutal event behind bars convinces him to take charge, and turn his life around.
Now he must put his street skills to the ultimate test: as a soldier in the British army. And the battlefield is London, where innocent people are being targeted by a new and terrifying enemy.
Undercover, under threat – only Sean Harker can save the streets from all-out war.